MobileMapper 6 and LTI Rangefinder: Making Alaskan Airfield Approaches Safer

Juneau, Alaska, June 9, 2009 — Approaching Alaskan airfields can be an aerial obstacle course for jets making descents and landings. Often surrounded by challenging mountainous terrain, air corridors into and out of the airfields may be hemmed in by pinnacles, towering conifers and even cell towers. Approach procedures, called Required Navigation Performance (RNP), rely on onboard avionics to keep an aircraft away from obstacles and within a tightly specified airspace corridor. Among the stored data inputs to the onboard avionics are three-dimensional fixed waypoints to help aircraft navigate the approach and departure corridors.  

Alaska Airlines, a recognized leader in developing safer and more efficient approach and departure operations through FAA-certified RNP, is continually gathering data about potential approach and departure obstacles.  The more than 30 RNP procedures at the eight airfields currently served by RNP in Alaska are being updated to reduce aircraft track miles.  In addition, eight new airfield locations currently without RNP procedures are slated to have multiple RNP procedures by 2010.

Since mapping and collecting obstruction data in the remote areas surrounding the airfields can be a major undertaking, it’s important that the collected GIS data be right the first time. Maintaining accurate air corridor maps is one of the jobs of Matt King, manager of RNP development for Alaska Airlines.  When King goes into the remote areas to make a full ground obstacle assessment, he requires highly reliable equipment that can collect the data completely, accurately and with redundancy. 

King uses the Magellan® Professional MobileMapper® 6 GPS/GIS receiver data collector with integrated camera to snap and tag photos of the mapped obstructions. The MobileMapper runs ArcPad software and is loaded with both orthographic and topographic maps. It’s connected via Bluetooth to a Laser Technology, Inc. (LTI) TruPulse 360 reflectorless rangefinder, which provides the necessary raw values to calculate a remote GPS location, for mapping offsets of otherwise inaccessible points.  With the MobileMapper 6, King continuously tracks and keeps a complete log of where he has been.  With its 2-5 meter real-time and sub-meter post-processed performance, the MobileMapper offers the accuracy King requires. 

When mapping inaccessible obstacles, such as hard-to-reach obstructions across rugged and steep terrain, King logs the bottom and top of the obstacle with the TruPulse 360, which provides object height and distance data fed via Bluetooth to the ArcPad database onboard the MobileMapper 6.  For redundancy he also takes and logs a photo of the obstruction with a text description using the MobileMapper 6 and its integrated camera.

When King looked for a suitable GPS/GIS receiver, data logger and software for his needs, he considered a variety of options.  He contacted, Jeff Arnold, president of GeoAge, a GIS solutions software developer and systems integrator headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla.

“The MobileMapper 6  that I recommended is unique to market with its features package of rugged design, 2-5 meter real time accuracy, open platform and low cost.” Arnold said.  It’s a very robust professional GPS/GIS receiver capable of withstanding harsh conditions, and its low cost is the best in the professional quality market,” said Arnold.

About Alaskan Airlines
Alaska Airlines is the ninth-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic and is the dominant U.S. West Coast air carrier. Headquartered in Seattle, Alaska carries more passengers between the state of Alaska and the Lower 48 than any other airline.
About Magellan Professional
Recognized as an industry innovator, Magellan Professional has been developing GNSS technology for more than 20 years.  Magellan Professional is the creator of BLADE™  technology, which introduces a unique patented method to the market using multiple GNSS constellations for high-accuracy positioning. Magellan Professional has also introduced the MobileMapper series of products, as well as the ProMark™ series, including the Proflex™ 500, ProMark 500, ProMark3 RTK and ProMark 3, a well-recognized GNSS product line currently on the market. Magellan Professional is privately held and headquartered in Carquefou, France, with offices in Santa Clara, California, Moscow, Beijing, China, Singapore, and The Netherlands. For more information on Magellan Professional, visit

About GeoAge
GeoAge is a leading developer and supplier of mobile data collection, mapping and workforce productivity systems.  Its rapid form-creation software enables new levels of management effectiveness in field, environmental, engineering, and emergency response applications.  GeoAge mobility solutions utilize smartphones, PDAs and tablet computers running Microsoft operating systems.  Established in 2001, GeoAge has created applications suited for many industries requiring rapid data collection with instant mapping and reporting.  GeoAge is a Microsoft Certified Partner for Mobility Solutions.

About Laser Technology, Inc
Laser Technology Inc. is a Colorado-based company devoted to the design and manufacture of innovative laser-based distance, height and azimuth measurement instruments for professional measurement organizations and businesses. Laser Technology, Inc. currently holds more than 40 laser-based United States patents and its products are used around the world. Visit Laser Technology on the Web at